This week, Nintendo launched the DSi, along with six sexy DSi Ware games. Who cares about those? This is the Virtual Console Column! We’re here to talk about this week’s new VC game, Uncharted Waters: New Horizons from the SNES. I’ve…actually never heard of this, so let’s get some opinions from some people who have!
Uncharted Waters: New Horizons
Original Release Date: 1994
Price: 800 Wii Points
Christopher Bowen: It’s almost as if Nintendo uses the Virtual Console as it’s personal humour service.
Uncharted Waters: New Horizons isn’t a bad game; in fact, it’s just like every Koei game out there, pre-Musou: stat heavy, deep, and very hard for all but the most dedicated to learn and master. This is basically their answer to Pirates!, though nowhere near as playable, not as fun, and again, the learning curve is brutal, as it was for most of this era’s war sims.
So with Charlie having never heard of it, and even this site’s Resident Koei Fanatic being cool on it, you would think Nintendo would try to make this look good, right?
If their idea of making it look good is releasing it three days after Europe got The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, they’re not doing so hot.
I have to think at this point that Nintendo thinks this is funny. “Hey, watch how America reacts to getting an unknown Koei game for nerds, while we give Europe Majora’s Mask! HAHAHAHA look at the blogosphere light up! Everyone! Drinks are on Iwata!”
Guy Desmarais: …wait. Europe got Majora’s Mask?
D.J. Tatsujin: Ah, Uncharted Waters – a title I haven’t heard muttered in some time. I actually have a friend that swears the game’s sequel, New Horizons (the SNES version of which has previously been released in Japan’s VC), is the main reason to own a Sega Genesis. The game also shows Koei’s penchant for chopping up its games’ titles during localization with the series maintaining the name of Daikoukai Jidai (roughly something like “the big voyage to the new era” if I have the parts translated correctly) throughout four iterations, with the last being released on the DS and PSP in 2006.
As for the game in question, Christopher has it stated pretty well – this going to be a game you’re either going to love forever or hate into oblivion; there is just no in between. Deep down, there is an intriguing amount of factual history present in the game, which takes place during “The New World” craze you didn’t pay attention to in eighth-grade history. Micromanagement is huge in Uncharted Waters as not only does economics play a huge part in progressing through the game, players also have to make sure the crew doesn’t starve/dehydrate on the open seas, carry supplies to repair the ship, engage in tactical battles against other fleets and more. Really, taking a look at any of Koei’s offerings during the time, you know exactly what to expect here, only with a European tone.
Players can progress by pleasing the king, but they also have the freedom to become renegade pirates that attack anything it sees and certain actions can really tick off countries bordering your homeland to the point of war. Uncharted Waters isn’t a technical masterpiece, but if you’re willing to invest the time it takes to ride the learning curve, you’ll find new things to experience every time you play. However, if you’re not familiar with the series or that era of Koei’s games, you’ll have to be willing to dive through a lot of stats and menus. At a price of 800 Wii Points, this will be a real tough sell to the casual gamer, but fans will gladly pay $8 for the VC version over the $20-30 for the cart if they just want to play the game.
Meanwhile, our new Wii Ware game is EQUILIBRIO, about balancing a ball and reaching the end of each level. It actually doesn’t look too bad, though I’d rather be getting one of the games Japan is currently enjoying from this week: Adventure Island: The Beginning. Maybe next week.